Not Another New Year’s Resolution

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On becoming a new creation, by Hannah.

There is something about a closing year that lends itself well to reflection, and a well-known tradition in many cultures is the writing of resolutions for the upcoming year. Yet often, these goals are abandoned quickly.. perhaps even by the end of January. Resolve has become something of a mockery. We expect to do well at keeping resolutions at the outset of a new year, but then for the initial passion to fade, and our resolve with it. We expect to fail.

I think it’s interesting that, as was mentioned in this Sunday’s message at my church, the word passion is linked to the idea of suffering. (more…)

Saying “I Love God” Is Not Enough

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On 100% commitment, by Hannah.

I have been a believer in Christ for many years, and it has been quite a while since I accepted Christ into my life, over 16 years ago.. although not all of my family is Christian, I was raised to know the Bible well – and could quickly find verses (thank you, children’s Sunday school, for holding verse locating competitions: although we were probably driven more by the desire to gain candy at the time, gaining a knowledge of the Bible’s contents aided me greatly when I became more mature).

However, there is something which I have realized recently, like a slap in the face- I love God, but have been afraid to fully commit to Him. (more…)

She Is Not Your Enemy

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On jealousy and greatness, by Hannah.

Ladies, listen up. I have something important to tell you.

Have you ever felt jealous toward a woman because she had something good? Maybe she was popular, talented, or clever. Perhaps she could afford better things, could be ladylike without trying, or finished a PhD. Maybe she always looks “on point”, while you vary between extremes of I-am-a-zombie and red-carpet-ready. Whatever it was that set you off, perhaps she reminded you of what you are not, or are still in the process of becoming.

Maybe you are bad at cooking, or your life feels messy. You could be more laid-back than ambitious, or the opposite: a perfectionist who will never be as cool and relaxed. Whatever it is – you’re not her. And it bugs you- but why?

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The Power Behind the Pen

IMG_2328On penmanship and the author of time, by Hannah.

I have a reputation for messy handwriting, which has caused my friends as well as family to request deciphering of the cards or notes which I write – because when I write meaningful messages, I often forget to use clear, block-letter manuscript style, and instead use the flowing, incomprehensible cursive which I adopted and adapted over a number of years: a combination of 18th and 19th century lettering and my own invention. In some ways, my handwriting is a reflection of my personality. I am right-brained, artistic, slightly disorganized, and often in a (perhaps unnecessary) rush.. whether in writing lists or climbing stairs two at a time.

I remember my mom’s dismay when she tried to teach me how to write clearly in elementary school. Her handwriting is beautiful: perfect, symmetrical, comprehensible. Yet I also like my handwriting, including its indecipherable quality. It means that when I’m writing in public, fewer people can read over my shoulder.

“Can I see your pen?” A young woman in Bible study asked, after complimenting my handwriting. (more…)

Numbness and Night

On emptiness and our need for God, by Hannah.

Late summer in Japan: it smells green and feels heavy, the night alive and buzzing to the hum of cicadas. The air beats warm, wrapping around skin like steam, and mosquitoes swarm the lights above sidewalks. The trains are full of salarymen carrying briefcases and women clutching bags, their nails manicured. Most passengers stare at the backlit screens of cellphones, or crinkled newspapers and unfinished work documents. Others nap, their limbs sprawling, heads bobbing and backs arched stiffly forward.

A woman is standing, unaware that the end of the umbrella she rests on her arm prods those seated in front of her. The offended persons say nothing, too tired to complain. Outside, the darkness grows. Someone lets loose a laugh that has been waiting until after-hours to escape. Two elementary school kids exchange stories, and evade thoughts of homework for a little while longer. The night envelopes the city in muted softness. (more…)